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Leveraging the next four weeks

It was great to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with family and friends. As per usual, we had a household debacle … this time, instead of the turkey not cooking fast enough in the oven, my dishwasher stopped working the morning of our big meal. And then the guest toilet stopped working after dinner.

These are first-world problems. And I know we were not the only people to have hiccups during the day—two of my friends texted me that their ovens stopped working—so they ended up barbecuing their turkeys! Ingenious!

Now that Thanksgiving weekend is over, what’s top of mind? Cyber Monday? Giving Tuesday? Shopping for holiday gifts?

How about none of the above?

What if you took some time between now and Christmas to think about next year—2023? What do you want to do, or accomplish, in the new year?

  • Travel?
  • Foster more personal or professional development?
  • Build on your health and fitness?
  • Form stronger personal connections with friends and family?

The time between the two big holidays is the PERFECT time to reflect on this past year and to look forward to the new year. Many of us have the “woulda, coulda, shouldas” about this year.

“I should have gone on a vacation to Spain … I saw so many of my friends post photos on Facebook and Instagram … makes me wish I went there.”

“I could have made sure to call my parents or grandparents more frequently …”

“If I’d gone to the gym more often, I would be in better shape by now.”

One of my coworkers set a goal for himself in 2021 to become a certified SCUBA diver in 2022. He mapped out the trips he would take and what classes were required (and when). Just last week told me he is now a certified instructor! And this a busy guy, even without this new hobby! The key was that last year he thought ahead, identified those things that were important to him, and created a plan of how to accomplish those goals. I’m sure he had the goals written down and put dates on the calendar to make sure he hit his target.

Everyone has their own goals and priorities. It may not be traveling to Spain or learning to SCUBA dive. However, I’ve learned that it pays off to make the time to start a list of those things that you want to accomplish—and then spend a few minutes each day or week adding to the list. Pretty soon you have a significant list of goals, including some “bucket list” items.

More than 10 years ago, I wrote out my first bucket list. It really wasn’t that hard, as I was at a weekend business retreat and our facilitator set aside about an hour for us to work on it. I have a lot of travel on my list (Spain, India, Morocco, Macchu Pichu, to name a few). I set a few business goals (revenue, profits, client targets, how much to donate to charity). I also added some health goals (run a half marathon, lower my resting heart rate, and sleep at least 7 hours a night).

When I found that bucket list buried on my desk when I moved 3 years ago, I realized that I would be better served to keep my bucket list more visible. Looking at it 7 years after writing it didn’t seem like I really wanted to accomplish the things on my list. If you’re looking for some ideas for a bucket list, you can do an internet search for “Bucket list” or try this one.

So now, I actually carry it around with me in my daily planning calendar. I review it each month’s end to see how I am tracking against my goals. And now that we are in the home stretch for the year, I am getting kind of excited to think about what I want to accomplish next year.

How about you? Next time you are trying to figure out what gift to buy a friend or partner, how about shifting to what gift you want to gift yourself in the new year? For every hour you spend surfing the web for gift ideas, how about investing an hour thinking about what’s important to you—and what you need to do to accomplish those things?

Just thinking about the new year—and what potential there is do some fun things in 2023—makes me smile.

How about you? I would love to learn what’s on YOUR bucket list for 2023.



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